Breach of Covenant

Landlords of residential properties often have situations when tenants breach the covenants contained in their leases. For example, the tenant fails to pay rent or fails to maintain the property to the standard required in the lease.

There are a number of options that will normally be available to a landlord including, subject to the terms of the lease, the right to terminate the lease early and recover possession of the property. This area of law is technical and there are a number of limitations on a landlord’s right to forfeit a long residential lease. For example, Court proceedings must be used if the property is occupied. The landlord cannot simply change the locks. Furthermore, it is likely that various notices would need to be served by the landlord prior to taking any steps detailing either the rent due or breach of the lease.

In light of the above, the landlord should seek specialist legal advice before undertaking any steps. Furthermore, a tenant facing this sort of action from the landlord should seek specialist advice to ascertain whether the correct steps have been taken by the landlord.

Myerson Property Litigation advise both landlords and tenants regularly on this area of law. Our specialist team can provide you with advice from the outset before any initial steps are taken.

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Ending Assured Shorthold Tenancies

Ending an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (“AST”)

An AST is a type tenancy of a residential property granted by a landlord.

It is important to note that landlords cannot evict tenants from a residential property without a court order. The procedure to evict a tenant from a residential property is therefore different to a landlord who wants to evict a tenant from a commercial property.

There are numerous ground upon which a landlord can obtain possession of a residential property. These include but are not limited to:

  • The landlord requires property back in order to live in it as their primary residence;
  • The mortgage company requires possession of the property because of mortgage arrears;
  • The landlord intends to demolish/reconstruct the property and tenant cannot remain in the property whilst works are carried out;
  • There are substantial rent arrears; or
  • The tenant has broken or not performed other obligations under the tenancy.

Where there is no grounds for ending a tenancy, but the landlord wants to bring this to an end after the fixed term has expired, landlords can use the section 21 procedure. This procedure allows landlords to regain possession without the need for a court hearing and none of the possession grounds mentioned in the table above apply.

Simply speaking, landlords would have to serve a written notice on their tenant giving the tenant 2 months to leave the property. If the tenant remains at the property upon expiry of the notice, the landlord can then use the court’s accelerated procedure in order to regain possession.

Landlords can expect to regain possession approximately 8 weeks after court proceedings are commenced (although this is subject to any delays by the courts in dealing with the paperwork).

Termination by Tenant

Tenants’ procedure to terminate an AST during the fixed term

Tenants may be able to:

  • Exercise a break clause in the tenancy agreement (if there is one).
  • Negotiate a surrender with the landlord.
  • Assign the tenancy to a new tenant (if allowed by the tenancy agreement).
  • Underlet the property to a new subtenant (if allowed by the tenancy agreement).

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, there are numerous legal complications and hoops to jump through when bringing an AST to an end. Myerson’s Property Litigation team have a wealth of experience in this area and will be able to guide you through the process as smoothly as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact one of them to discuss this matter further.

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Meet Our Specialists

Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our specialists are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.

Seán Hackett

Seán Hackett

Seán is a Senior Solicitor in the Property Litigation Team of our Commercial Litigation Department

Tim Norman

Tim Norman

Tim is a Senior Partner in our Commercial Litigation department

Laura Pile

Laura Pile

Laura is a Senior Solicitor in the Property Litigation Team of our Commercial Litigation Department

Emma Dooley

Emma Dooley

Emma is a Solicitor in the Property Litigation Team of our Commercial Litigation Department

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Please send us your enquiry using this enquiry form, or you can send us an email to lawyers@myerson.co.uk